"Just in Time" Censorship

It isn't just Burmese pro-democracy activists who have been denied Internet access by heavy-handed government censors. "OpenNet Initiative, which tracks Internet censorship, has documented signs that in recent years several governments -- including those of former Soviet republics Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- have closed off Internet access, or at least opposition Web sites, during periods preceding elections or times of intense protests. The brief disruptions are known as 'just in time' filtering," and "are designed to quiet opponents while maintaining an appearance of technical difficulties, thus avoiding criticism from abroad." While the Burmese junta easily cut off Internet access in the country, "nations with larger economies and more ties to the outside world have more at stake. China, for one, could not consider cutting itself off as Myanmar [Burma] has done, and so control of the Internet is an industry in itself," with help from Internet companies like Yahoo and Google.